The Czech language was often referred to as the Bohemian language in English until the 19th century. It is similar to Slovak and also has similarities to Polish and Sorbian. Today, it is spoken by about 12 million speakers worldwide and is the official language of the Czech Republic.
Learning the Czech language can prove to have its challenges at the beginning for native English speakers, but don’t let that scare you off! There are tons of opportunities for you to build a foundation or add on to your Czech skills out there, if you know where to look.
LRNGO is a free site where you can connect with a language exchange partner and get one-on-one guidance for your Czech learning journey, for no fee. The idea is that everyone has a skill that they can teach, so why pay a tutor when you can exchange time teaching one skill for learning another? Find a partner near you or anywhere in the world and meet up via video chat.
Czech 101 offers links to Czech radio, newspapers, and television so you can practice what you’ve learned in natural situations, and give yourself a taste of the surrounding culture. The site also provides vocabulary lists, pronunciation guides, and English-Czech translation tools so that you are sure to get a broad understanding of the topic.
Learn Czech on YouTube is a great playlist compiled by Learn Czech in Prague, which gives you easy access to over sixty YouTube videos teaching you foundational Czech.
Learn Czech by Czech Class 101 is a great podcast which helps you get a grasp on the basics wherever you go—listen in the car, in a plane, in the home, or anywhere you go and start learning in your free time.
There are over 10-12 million Czech speakers living in the Czech Republic, another 200,000 emigrants spread across the globe, and over 90,000 Czech speakers living within the continental USA, meaning that teaching opportunities for Czech speakers span the globe.
If you’re interested in tutoring, you can post your information on sites like LRNGO and My Czech Republic. There may also be opportunities with your city’s cultural center, community college, or university, depending on your credentials.
Your Czech skills are not limited to teaching the states. There are many opportunities for teaching an English language course (ESL), or other course materials at universities in the Czech Republic. Teach Away offers great advice for ESL teachers abroad, and you can start finding available listings at Dave’s ESL Cafe, Expats, or ESL Jobs.
The American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages, whose members span across the nation, has a quarterly newsletter that is published online, an annual conference with scholarly panels, workshops, and roundtable discussions held by an energetic cross section of leading scholars. The four-day conferences focus on gathering attention to communication and aesthetic characteristics of the rich Slavic cultures, providing support to Czech teachers.
If you find yourself with the valuable skill of being able to speak Czech, put it to use and start exploring your options as a teacher!
Photo Credit: Lau Svensson